Let’s be more creative about Trident
THE value of Britain’s nuclear deterrent has long been recognised by successive Westminster governments, of whatever political hue. It is something with which we meddle at our peril. Then, of course, there is the related issue of jobs at Faslane.
I wonder, therefore, why more imaginative solutions to the problem of Trident submarines being based at Faslane, in the event of a Yes vote in the coming referendum, have been so firmly ruled out by the current Holyrood administration.
Using the sovereign base areas in Cyprus as a model, it ought not to be beyond the wit of man to arrange for Faslane and a small area around it to remain an integral part of the rest of the United Kingdom. The area need not become part of the state of Scotland at all.
In this event, nuclear submarines would not be stationed on Scottish territory, the UK would retain its nuclear deterrent, Nato would be happy and jobs at Faslane would be protected.
As part of this agreement, we should insist on the return of Berwick-upon-Tweed and its defensive perimeter to Scotland, thus righting an historical wrong.
Newbattle Abbey Crescent
William Aitken (Letters 30 October) is correct in his disbelief of the government pronouncements over Trident and Faslane.
Since all boats always have an alternative base (in case of original bases being unavailable) Devonport could handle the boats almost immediately.
While ballistic missile handling facilities would be needed, all other facilities for handling nuclear-powered submarines already exist.
Assuming they avoided employing anyone connected with the Edinburgh Tram contract, the facilities required could be on site much quicker than the suggested 20 years.
As for Faslane, he is correct in his assertion that it would not be suitable as a main naval base. As well as being too far from the sea, most of of naval involvement would be covering the assets in the North Sea and to the north.
This means that a base at Rosyth, where excellent purpose-built facilities already exist, would be ideal for the main naval base. A secondary base would be required and, assuming all vessels would be non-nuclear, then the most obvious choice covering the north and north-west would be the existing Nato refuelling base in Loch Ewe.
Along with the former HMNB Aultbea it would form an ideal base for naval vessels. Not only was it the site for the departure of the Arctic convoys to Russia but it was also where the home fleet sheltered after Scapa Flow was breached by U47.
Earlier this month, during the Joint Warrior exercise, Loch Ewe was a centre for mine counter measures practice and was also defended by Rapier missile teams. It has direct access to the open sea (unlike Oban) and its existing bunkering facilities could handle the type of ships that would form a Scottish Naval Service.
Bruce D Skivington
Gairloch, Wester Ross
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